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Simpson Library: Digital Archiving Lab

Digital Archiving Lab

About the Lab

The mission of the Digital Archiving Lab (DAL) is to convert Simpson Library’s rare and unique archival materials to digital formats. Using specialized equipment and specifications to properly handle materials, we digitize rare books, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, and more. These digital objects are used to support the research and teaching goals of the UMW community, and can be accessed on many platforms among the Library’s online digital collections. 

The Digital Archiving Lab is also available for use by UMW faculty, staff, and students. DAL staff offer training on the lab's equipment and software, as well as consultation on digitization, digital preservation, and digital collection projects. To schedule an appointment, please email or call 540-654-2045.

DAL Equipment Specifications

Equipment available for use in the Digital Archiving Lab includes the following: 

Equipment Type of Material Maximum Document Dimensions Maximum Resolution
Cobra Book Scanner Bound materials; Documents 13 x 18 inches 600ppi
Epson Flatbed Scanner Documents; Photographs; Prints; Film (positive & negative) 12 x 17 inches Dependent on document size.
Canon 50MP DSLR w/ Tripod Oversized Prints; Posters; Objects N/A 300ppi

Several workstations in the Digital Archiving Lab also include the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite, including Photoshop, Lightroom, and Adobe Acrobat Pro. 

DAL Photo

Two students working at scanning stations in the Digital Archiving Lab.

Students, staff, and faculty can schedule appointments to use the equipment and software in the Digital Archiving Lab.

Examples: Projects that used the DAL

Examples of projects that used the DAL:

  • University of Mary Washington Herbarium
    • Thousands of herbarium specimens digitized by students in the DAL.
  • Rowe Family Scrapbooks
    • Scrapbook pages digitized by students in the DAL for an "Adventures in Digital History" course project. 
  • Margaret Sutton Art Works
    • Many works by Margaret Sutton were digitized by students in the Art History department's "Laboratory in Museum Studies" course for their annual exhibition. 
  • World War I Posters
    • Simpson Library's World War I posters were photographed by Library staff in the Digital Archiving Lab.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How can I use the Digital Archiving Lab for my own project?
    • The Digital Archiving Lab offers scheduled appointments for UMW staff, faculty, and students. Your first appointment will include a consultation regarding your project and training on the equipment you'll be using. Email to schedule your first appointment! 
  • Where is the lab located?
    • The lab is located in the Hurley Convergence Center (HCC), room 322. The lab can be accessed directly via the HCC, or by crossing the bridge from Simpson Library's 2nd floor into the HCC. 
  • Can I use the lab on the weekend?
    • No, unfortunately the DAL is currently only available for appointments Monday - Friday.